Before the Rap Game
Tupac Shakur was born in the East Harlem area of Manhattan, New York into a family heavily involved in the Black Panther Party. His godfather Geronimo Pratt, a high-ranking Black Panther, was convicted of murdering a schoolteacher in 1968. Pac was born on June 16, 1979 and one month later, his mother Afeni Shakur was acquitted of more than 150 charges of “Conspiracy against the United States government and New York landmarks.”
His stepfather, Mutulu, was in the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives during the early 1980s for helping his sister Assata Shakur escape from a New Jersey prison where she was sentenced for killing a state trooper. In 1986, Pac’s stepfather was imprisoned for attempting to break into a Brinks armored truck and killing two police officers and a guard.
Despite his family’s constant encounters with the federal government and frequent lodgings in state penitentiaries, Shakur was talented artist. As a sophomore in high school, he auditioned for Baltimore School for the Arts as “MC New York” showing off his charismatic rap skills and reading his eloquent, yet raw and uncut poetry. He made the cut and pursued ballet, poetry, and performing in plays like Shakespeare’s “MacBeth,” “Les Miserables,” and “Gospel at Colonus.” He also read a lot, where most of the themes in his albums and lyrics in his songs were influenced by many classic literary works such as “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck with a sociopolitical theme between the inequality and racism between rich and the poor during the Great Depression as well as the military/business classic “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu, which teaches tactical strategies to have the upper hand to ensure victory.
During his time at the Baltimore School for the Arts, he also became good friends with Jada Pinkett, Will Smith’s wife, who made their ascent to fame together in the ’90s.
One of Tupac’s biggest hits and a classic song among the hip-hop world which shares Pac’s insight into his reality, racism and unjust treatment of the “young black man” where he begins his song asking the question: “Is life worth living or should I blast myself?”
Pac’s continues his verse by putting the listener into his mental dialogue as experiencing a life of crime, injustice, and poverty:
I’m tired of bein’ poor and even worse I’m black
My stomach hurts so I’m lookin’ for a purse to snatch
Cops give a damn about a negro
Pull the trigger kill a nigga he’s a hero… I never did no crime that I didn’t have to do
More than 20 years later, I see no changes cops still “don’t give a damn about a negro.” There is still unjustified racial profiling of African American men in America and in just the past two years there has been a countless of police murdering African American men. Here is a brief synopsis of the most recent/most controversial examples of police unjustly murdering unarmed African-American men.
Unjust Police Killings of the Poor Black Man
Eric Garner, July 17, 2014: African American father-of-six dies after being held in a police chokehold, a move that NYC police officers are told not do, but he did it anyway and continues as Eric Garner saying “I can’t breathe.”
New York state grand jury declares to not charge officer of any charges despite Medical Examiner’s Office ruling Garner’s death a homicide caused by “compression of neck (chokehold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.”
Michael Brown Jr., August 9, 2014: At 11:53AM Officer Dean Wilson was dispatched to investigate an incident at the Ferguson Market where seven minutes later Wilson pulls up in front of Brown and his friend, Dorian Johnson, and as he pulled up closer to Brown Jr. Wilson claims that Brown reached into his police SUV and a struggle for his gun ensued, firing two shots in the vehicle. Brown flees as Wilson chases him down but Brown, unarmed, puts his hands up and Wilson then continues by firing his gun six times at Brown, all hitting him in his torso area, as he bleeds to death and dies 90 seconds later.
Walter Scott, April 4, 2015: Officer Michael T. Slager stops the drivers of a Mercedes-Benz with a broken taillight, Walter Scott, where police reports claim the Scott ran away into a vacant lot. Officer Slager chases him, firing his taser, but it doesn’t stop Scott.
Moments later Slager reports on his radio: “Shots fired and the subject is down. He took my taser.” Unfortunately for Slager, someone filmed the entire altercation, showing the Scott did not take Officer Slager’s taser, it fell next behind the officer, they both begin running, Slager shoots eight times. Scott falls to the ground, Slager then runs back to pick up his taser and places is next to Scott’s wounded body.
Freddie Gray, April 19, 2015: Freddie Grey was chased down on foot by two officers who proceeded to arrest him while two bystanders recorded Gray’s arrest, showing him screaming in pain, while one officer bending Grey’s legs, and another pinning down Gray with his knee pressed into Gray’s neck.
Gray was dragged into the police van where witnesses reported that he “couldn’t use his legs,” and “couldn’t walk.” Police records show that the van transporting Gray made three confirmed stops before summoning paramedics to take Gray to the hospital, and 30 minutes after Gray’s arrest he was taken into the University of Maryland R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, declared to be in a coma. Records show that he died of a spinal injury where it is suspected that he received injuries while being unsecured inside the van transporting him to jail.
Pac told us to make changes in the way we treat each other. We are all strangers to each other, but in reality we are not different at all. We are all human, we are all born the same, the only difference between ourselves is the pigment melanin levels in our skin and the mentalities we acquire while we were raised.
Society has indoctrinated us to accept that the white man is superior race and the colored are the inferior, whether it was during the age of the Nazis where the white Nords believed they were superior race and all millions of Jewish people were killed, or during the colonial ages of America where the white man was the superior man and acquired, sold, traded, and disposed of men from Eastern and Central Africa a commodity, or even today, where Donald Trump claims that white America is superior to all Latinos, whether born legally in the United States or in South America.
“We can never go nowhere unless we share with each other, we gotta start makin’ changes, learn to see me as a brother instead of two distant strangers.”
Take a brown baby and a white baby, the white baby won’t have an contempt or hatred over his counterpart, they are going to get along; it’s once those two children are separated that one will be taught to fear or look down on darker skinned people weather by their parents, their environment, or the media. That is where the hate comes from, no human is born with hate, it’s comes from the experiences and nurturing of the individual.
“It’s Time For Us as a People to Start Makin’ Some Changes… You See the Old Way Wasn’t Working so It’s On Us to Do What We Gotta Do to Survive.”
It’s easy to act upon impulse, our brains are built to act on quick judgment, we dont think about 90% of the things we do, we just do it! We don’t think about hitting the breaks when you see a car suddenly stop in front of you, you just do it. We don’t think about moving one foot forward, balancing our entire body and moving the next foot forwards when we are walking, we just do it. Likewise, it’s easy to have fear, hate, or contempt for someone because that is what the media has subconsciously ingrained into our minds.
Our bodies are like a computer, thousands of moving parts that can do millions of simultaneous operations for hours on end, but without a motherboard communicating to the computer, the machine is worthless. Racism is like the virus you get when you watch too much of the bad stuff and it infects the computer for the rest of it’s life, and the only way to make the computer function properly is by removing the virus. In order for us to remove the fear, hate, and ambiguity we have for each other we remove these preconceived notions which society brings along with it generation upon generation, that we must fear the colored man and aspire to the lifestyle and status of the superior.
“Misplaced hate makes disgrace to races…one better place, let’s erase the wasted, take the evil our the people they’ll be acting right.”
Let’s start today to start making some changes. Instead of getting pissed off about Donald Trump’s latest speech belittling Latinos, and us ranting about how much of an idiot he is, and actually sharing his nonsense, let’s stop criticizing the man and make changes in our own lives by treating everyone is our own lives the way we would want to be treated. Fuck how much Donald Trump’s campaign pisses you off, do you really believe he’s going to be president? Remember, this has more money than you and I can ever imagine, he’s smart, he just likes attention, stop giving him the attention he so desperately craves.
Let’s start today, the new generation, by embodying Pac’s vision of living in a more harmonious world where we break out of our mental barriers that make us fear those we don’t know or the one’s the fit the description of the media’s negative stereotypes of races, the nigger who’s going to rob you or the wetback Mexican who crossed the border. FUCK THAT! We are all recycled and reused elements from the universe that will be thrown back into the ground to be reused by Earth once again, stop thinking that you’re the shit, that you’re better than anyone else, because at the end of it all, you’ll have nothing.
Not your money, your car, your house, we’re all headed to the same place. There is only one race on Earth and that is the human race. Nature didn’t create borders, it did not tell us that white were the superior races, it didn’t magically drop the idea of racism and violence into our heads, these things are artificial and it is our job to erase these viruses that are infecting our head, and most importantly, our lives.
I still see no changes, but that doesn’t mean one person cannot plant the seed of change into his own mind, and then maybe in the course of that inspiring others to make change. We must see everyone as a reflection of ourselves, the same computer, just running different browsers, different softwares, with different tasks, but regardless, the same computer.
Pac, I agree with you, we do have to start making changes, but in reality, creating content to change the world is impossible, the only thing we can do is spark inspiration with the hopes that at least one person will take your work into their heart to actually take it upon themselves to change. Thanks Pac, your words have and will live on forever.
Continue the chain that Pac sparked in me to share this message with others, don’t just like this post — that makes no impact. Instead, share this on Facebook so we can continue to spread Pac’s message.